norml21 - Page 6

Page 6 Previous , Next , Original Image
Return to Index

 persons other than the actor, i_eo, victimless, was the
 enforcement of the societal majorityVs religious and moral
 values_ That these acts are still subject to criminal sanctions
 today - 200 years later - is testimony to the fact that they are
 anachronistic vestiges of a concept of governmental authority
 which has no place in today's society and was not intended to
 have a place in a new nation founded on the concept of maximum
 individual liberty and minimum governmental interference°
 Bo Legal development and law enforcement in the
 American Colonies during and i_nediately preceding
 the adoption of the Ninth and Tenth Amendments
 indicates that the intention of the framers was to
 remove government from the enforcement of personal
 The American Revolution and the years following brought
 profound changes in attizudes toward crime and the criminal.
 Prosecutions for various sorts of immoral_:ty nearly ceased, while
 economically motivated crimes and prosecutions therefor greatly
 increased. 42 NoYoU_ Lo Revo, s_ra p_3, at 455° As noted by
 Historian William Eo Nelson:
 During the fifteen years before the
 Revolution there had been an average of
 seventy-two prosecutions per year for sexual
 offenses_ nearly all for fornication° The
 first ten years after independence produced
 only a slight decline to fifty-eight cases
 each year. However, in ].786 the General
 Court enacted a new statute for the
 punishment of fornication, permitting a woman
 guilty of the crime to confess her guilt
 before a justice of the peace, pay an
 approximate fine, and thereby avoid

Previous , Next , Return to Index